Eight CIC Students Participate in Intensive Chinese-Language Program in Taiwan

Eight students from seven CIC member institutions participated this summer in the second annual Taiwan Intensive Summer Language Program (TISLP), administered by American Councils for International Education, a partner of CIC for the past several years. The program participants included two students from Haverford College (PA) and one each from Baldwin Wallace University (OH), Gettysburg College (PA), Hope College (MI), Juniata College (PA), Kenyon College (OH), and McDaniel College (MD).

group photo of American and Taiwanese students
The TISLP participants, including eight students from CIC member institutions, gathered during the program’s opening ceremony on June 26.

The program is hosted by the Chinese Language Center at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan, and enables dedicated students of Mandarin Chinese to complete a year’s worth of academic study in only eight weeks. To create an immersive language learning environment, TISLP combines 20 hours of weekly small group and one-on-one language instruction with cultural workshops, excursions, interactions with language partners, a weekend homestay, and housing with local student roommates. To optimize their immersion experience, students speak Mandarin at all times and spend an average of four hours on coursework each night. Students are eligible to receive credit through Bryn Mawr College.

McDaniel College student Greg Laslo remarked, “My host family was extremely hospitable and friendly—they were very willing to help with language and cultural questions and had interesting activities planned out. The two days I spent with them also helped correct some misconceptions and expectations I had about life in Taiwan. The homestay was one of the most valuable parts of the program.”

This year, the experience included a greater level of interaction between TISLP students and the local community, giving participants even more opportunities to hone their Chinese-language skills in a greater variety of authentic environments and contexts. Students participated in community service activities—working with volunteers at an Anping District community center to prepare and deliver meals to elderly residents in the area—and visited local high schools to give presentations about American culture and learn more about academic life in Taiwan from their Taiwanese peers. Students made the presentations in Chinese and interactive discussions followed, allowing participants and local students to interact.

CIC colleges accounted for 25 percent of all applications received and more than 25 percent of the 29 participants. (Twelve students from CIC institutions were admitted to the highly selective program, but four opted not to attend.) According to American Councils Director of Higher Education Programs Graham Hettlinger, this was a remarkable showing for CIC institutions, especially since many of them do not offer Chinese-language courses.

Through the support of the Taiwan Ministry of Education, all U.S. citizens admitted to the program receive scholarships of $4,000–$5,000. The application period for the third year of the TISLP program will open in fall 2017. For more information about the program, email taiwan@americancouncils.org.